Okay, okay wait before you start laughing, no I am not seriously suggesting that the 2021 New York Mets have a good chance at making the playoffs or even deserve to do so at this point.
But, we all know that every Mets fan is still quietly rooting for an insane final stretch run. So instead, I’m just going to outline the series of unlikely things that need to happen in order to create a world where the Mets are the 2021 National League champions.
There are a few reasons why this is at least within the realm of possibility:
- The NL East remains the weakest division in baseball. Despite their recent win streak, the Braves are not a very good team and are missing key components from 2019 and 2020
- The Mets have a very good pitching staff and an offense that should be very good.
- The Mets are a dumb, crazy, stupid team that does dumb, crazy, stupid things.
Step 1: Gain 3.5 or more games on the Braves before October 1st
Why October 1st? The Mets conclude the season with a 3 game set in Atlanta, which at least gives them a chance to control their own destiny heading into that final weekend. The Mets play 29 games before then, while the Braves play 30. Say the Braves go 15-15 (somewhat reasonable considering they stalled at .500 for most of the year), the Mets would need to go 19-10. Not likely, but, I guess possible? The schedule is at least getting significantly easier now that the Mets are finished getting massacred by the NL West. And hey, the Mets recently announced that Jacob deGrom may actually be returning this year.
Oh, and as a side note, the Mets would also need to surpass the Phillies (but they seemed destined for another perfectly .500 season).
Step 2: Crush the Braves
Okay so assuming the above somehow happens, the Mets head into the weekend of October 1st three or fewer games behind the Braves. The next part is easy, just sweep the Braves! But don’t forget if the Mets do come into the series exactly three games behind it would force a game 163, so then they would just need to beat the Braves a fourth time in a row. Easy.
This all leaves the Mets with at least an 85-77 record over 162. In 2016, they were 60-62 and finished 87-75.
Step 3: Showdown with the Brewers in the NLDS
And just like that, the Mets are in the playoffs. Next stop, Milwaukee (most likely). All the Mets have to do here is take a five-game series against the team with the best 1-2-3 rotation in the league. Realistically though, the Brewers’ offense is not exceptional, and if the Mets somehow play well enough to make the playoffs they would at least have a chance against this team.
Here’s a real piece of good news: the Mets in this scenario could theoretically make it to the NLCS without having to face the Giants or Dodgers.
Step 4: The NL West Returns
Oh no. One of the two teams that nearly ended the Mets season is back again (definitely the Dodgers). All the Mets do here is face off against a rotation of Buehler-Scherzer-Kershaw, backed by an offense that bats 2019 MVP Cody Bellinger 8th and that’s WITH 2018 MVP Mookie Betts on the IL.
How do the Mets beat the Dodgers? No clue. The Dodgers have clearly shown themselves to be the better team and really should beat anyone. Maybe deGrom can start four of seven games and throw four no-hitters. Maybe Pete Alonso hits 4 home runs in every game. Maybe the Dodgers team bus breaks down and they forfeit game 7.
Step 5: Swept by the Yankees in the World Series
If the Mets pull together enough magic to somehow wind up in the World Series, we all know they’d have to lose it in an equally awful way. This is simply the only way for a Mets Cinderella playoff run to end.
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